Masters of string instruments – Kalyanji-Anandji

Kalyanji-Anandji composed melodious tunes. A notable feature of many of their innumerable hits was their mastery of string instruments, especially plucked string instruments. The string interludes became an integral part of the song and in quite a few cases added rhythm, timing, continuity and above all provided extreme clarity to the orchestration.

Below are some gems that have lovely string interludes. While quite a few of their songs have strings, I have chosen only those where the strings stand out as a notable and integral part of the song. Also, I have only considered those songs that showcase string instruments other than the violin. The violin was used in almost every hindi film song in the 60s and 70s. So, to me, use of a violin was not really a ‘difference’. While I can appreciate the music and orchestration with a discerning ear, I am not an expert in instruments. So if someone can help in identifying the various string instruments used in the songs, I would love to hear and learn from them. Enjoy the songs in the player below.

If you are in the USA or Canada, you can also listen to the songs on the player below. On repeated plays, the songs are shuffled automatically. Skipping is allowed but limited. Click the play arrow button below to enjoy the beauty of the strings!

A tip to enhance your listening pleasure: When listening to the songs in any of the players, if you want to browse further on this site or another one, open a new window for further browsing. The player will continue to play the songs in the current window while you are browsing)

1) Samjhauta Ghamon Se karlo – Samjhauta

This song sung by both Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar was a hit, in an otherwise average film. The pathos is accentuated by the lovely strings. Mukhda and Antra flow seamlessly into one another along with the lovely strings.

2) Kabhi Raat Din – Aamne Samne

You have to listen to the opening bars of the music to feel the haunting melody of the mandolinsong. This is truly one of the great silken and soft compositions in Hindi film music. Mohd Rafi with his mellifluous voice and Lata with her sweetness make this one of the best romantic songs in Hindi films. The extremely hummable string composition smoothly takes you from the opening bars for Mohd Rafi to lead into the song effortlessly. The string is repeated multiple times and ends the song on a lovely note.

3) O Saathi Re – Muqaddar Ka Sikander

Who can forget the lovely guitar which smoothly connects Kishore’s humming with the mukhda? The guitar is the highlight of the song. The vocals and guitar are inseparable and become one throughout the song.

4) Yaari hai Imaan – Zanjeer

This song topped the Binaca Geetmala charts and is one of the songs that comes on everyone’s lips when one talks about friendship. The rustic Pathani and North-western feel was beautifully captured through the strings (the instrument is like a rebab). An added attraction is the string playing to the rhythm of the song.

5) Tere Chehre Mein – Dharmatma

This song will be remembered for the beauty – of Hema Malini who looks at her best in this film and the lovely Afghan locales. Again, the strings of the deep rebab capture the beautiful Afghan feel in this song. You can feel the music of the region also in another string enhanced song in Dharmatma – Meri galiyon se sung by Lata Mangeshkar.

6) Ek Taara Bole – Yaadgaar

This humble string instrument was highlighted in the song itself. The string merges beautifully throughout the song. This was a raging hit for the unusual sounds and rhythm.

7) Tu Yaar hai Mera – Kahani Kismet Ki

In this Asha song, you will hear multiple string instruments. Orchestration is modern and peppy.

8) Nafrat Karne Walon ki – Johny Mera Naam

The 1970’s saw a lot of crime thrillers. Normally music gains centrestage in emotional, romantic or musical dramas. In crime thrillers, the music generally takes a backseat. Of course with some exceptions like Teesri Manzil.


Johny Mera Naam set the trend for crime thrillers in 1970, but with a difference.  The music was a chartbuster with every song a super hit. The song Nafrat Karne Walon sung by Kishore  features strings, words and music all beautifully interspersed. The fast pace of the strings set the pace for the song.

9) Mere Peeche Ek Ladki – Banarasi Babu

One special feature of quite a few Kalyanji-Anandji songs is their ability to pick up the rhythm after a crescendo or a pause. This pause-start pattern adds a special charm to the title song – Hamara Naam Banarasi Babu. But listen to other song from the same film – Mere Peeche Ek ladki and note the strong use of guitars throughout.

10) Apni to Jaise – Laawaris

The rhythm in the song stands out much more than any other feature. The vocals and the guitar make up and provide balance to the rhythm. The other hit in the movie Mere Angne mein has a folk base, so I did not mention it.

11) Hum Tumhe Chahte Hain – Qurbani

Again a lovely pause-start pattern. The string is definitely the highlight for this lovely song that does not have an antra. The soulful yearning voice of Manhar Udhas is beautifully enhanced by the strings. The other big KA hit in this movie – Laila o Laila also features lovely use of string instruments accompanied by a foot tapping rhythm.

12) Pal Pal Dil Ke Paas – Blackmail

An evergreen hit, this song is a favorite even today. The opening guitar sets the tone for this romantic song. The highlights are the accordion and the strings that complement each other beautifully throughout. Another haunting song from the same movie – Mile Do Badan also features lovely strings after the music reaches a crescendo.


13) Mera Jeevan Kora Kagaz – Kora Kagaz

Kishore Kumar did a great job in this Binaca Geetmala topper. However, one cannot blame a person for singing the string pattern more than the vocals. This is definitely a song where the string pattern sets the tone for the entire song and is a dominant feature of the song.

14) Arre Rafta Rafta – Kahani Kismet Ki

This is perhaps one of the liveliest songs in Hindi film music. The fun, exuberance of Kishore can only be matched by fast paced guitar. Watch how smoothly the guitar fits into yet another pause-start song.

15) Tumko Mere Dilne – Rafoo Chakkar

The nasal tones of Shailendra Singh and Kanchan are complemented by the lovely string interlude. The string interlude can become a separate song!

This entry was posted in Great music directors - Hindi, Hindi film music, Kalyanji-Anandji, Orchestration and arrangements and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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